The Northeastern State University Jazz Studies Program has released the third CD by the NSU Jazz Ensemble, “The Point.” The album, featuring new original music by NSU faculty and students with one of the legendary performers in jazz, is released on the heels of the critically acclaimed and award winning CD, “Appointment in Milano.”
Henry Johnson, long regarded as one of the world’s foremost jazz guitarists, returned to NSU to be featured as guest artist on the album. Johnson is a Chicago native who has recorded with some of the legendary figures in jazz, including Joe Williams, Nancy Wilson, Freddie Hubbard and Ramsey Lewis. Currently, Johnson leads the Chicago-based “Organ Express,” which tours internationally. Johnson has numerous Grammy nominations under his belt as well. It was Bobby Watson, the guest artist on “Milano,” who suggested to NSU Director of Jazz Studies Arthur White that Johnson visit NSU.
“The first time I spoke with Henry on the phone, I knew that he would be an amazing artist and person. I hadn’t heard a note, and I was convinced,” said White. “I ran out immediately and bought as many of his albums as I could. To try to do justice to Henry’s playing in words is just impossible.”
The album also features the NSU Jazz Ensemble I, the flagship ensemble of the NSU Jazz Studies Program. The album highlights the debut of brand new original compositions and arrangements by White, Johnson and NSU Jazz Studies alumni Bradley Spears and Tracy Patterson.
“This CD represents all the hard work the students have put into their music all year long, and with Arthur White leading them through his masterful arrangements, we have a win-win situation,” said Johnson “They win from all their effort, and the listener wins by being able to enjoy the beautiful music the band performed on this CD.”
According to White, this new album is going to turn many heads and create new fans of NSU Jazz.
“Henry really made the recording process special for all of us. I think the CD is the band’s best work yet,” he said. “Every year, they really rise to the occasion.”
Johnson was particularly impressed with the recording session.
“The NSU jazz students never cease to amaze me. It was such a pleasure to be a part of this wonderful recording,” Johnson said.